Spreading Crypto: Why Do Crypto Normies Need a Bank?

Crypto allows us to get rid of banks. Why is a bank needed? How does Genesis Block get us closer to broader crypto adoption?

Mick Hagen
Published in
9 min readJun 25, 2020

This is the fourth post of our Spreading Crypto mini-series, where we look at what it’ll take for this tech to reach broader adoption. We’ve previously discussed protocols and how they become widely adopted, the state of crypto applications today, and the different strategies used to launch a crypto app to the masses.

Today’s post examines how Genesis Block fits into the picture of broader crypto adoption. The power of crypto & blockchain is that anyone can become their own bank. This tech allows us to get rid of banks. Why would we need a new, crypto-powered bank like Genesis Block? Is this a contradictory concept? Today we’ll answer these important questions. Let’s dive in.

Genesis Block: The Bank

I’ve always disliked the entire banking industry. I never thought their work added much value to the world. I saw bankers — especially the Wall Street types — as greedy, blood-sucking vampires. I pictured them swimming in their piles of riches like Scrooge McDuck. Only caring about themselves. Unafraid to trample on anyone who stood in their way. All for their bottom line and profit.

I never imagined that I’d become a banker. Major plot twist.

So, how did this happen? Well, after many years of working within crypto, I saw this as a clear need and opportunity. The most promising use-cases to emerge within the crypto industry are primarily around financial services — things like lending, borrowing, saving, investing, payments, and insurance (in upcoming posts we’ll diving into Decentralized Finance — DeFi).

These popular crypto use-cases map very closely to the types of services that banks already offer. Consumers know exactly what a bank is and does. By using the “bank” concept, we’re able to leverage centuries of marketing and education that has already been done.

That’s why we’re building a “bank.”

The “bank” itself is not the big idea. The big idea is to leverage decentralized technology to unlock financial opportunities for people all over the world. The big idea is to help people achieve greater economic freedom. The big idea is to build a world-class application that solves people’s problems and meets their needs.

This new, digital bank is just the vehicle, the vessel, the agent. It’s the channel where we hope to deliver this value. It’s the “killer app” that can take crypto to the masses.

Does Crypto Need a Bank?

The power of crypto is that anyone can become their own bank. With nothing but a smartphone, you can store your wealth and nobody can take your money. You can send funds to anyone, anywhere in the world and nobody can stop it. It’s a game-changer.

There are circumstances where becoming your own bank can mean the difference between life and death. Imagine a refugee family that wants to safely protect their years of hard work — their life savings — as they travel across borders. Carrying cash could put their safety or money at risk. A few years ago I spent time in Greece at refugee camps — I know first-hand this is a real use-case.

Mick doing volunteer work at a Refugee Camp in Greece

Or imagine a family living under an authoritarian regime — afraid that their corrupt or oppressive government will seize their assets (or devalue their savings via hyperinflation). Citizens in these countries cannot risk putting their money in centralized banks or under their mattresses. They must become their own bank.

These use-cases are inspiring and powerful.

But what about everybody else? What about the billions of people around the world who aren’t living under such difficult circumstances?

Crypto allows us to get rid of banks. Do we really need a crypto-powered bank like Genesis Block?

Absolutely, yes.

For most users, having a bank — a secure, trustworthy, compliant, transparent, digital, mobile bank — will make all the difference between crypto adoption and oblivion. For the billions of normies out there, putting money in a bank like Genesis Block will be safer, easier, and financially more rewarding than if they were to become their own bank.

Analogy: Email Hosting

To help illustrate my point, let’s do a comparison with Email Hosting. I’m familiar with email because that’s what first got me into decentralized protocols back in 2014.

Because email protocols are open-source, users have the choice of where to host their email. If someone has the expertise, motivation, and time to set up their own email server, they can host their own email. Alternatively, if they value simplicity & convenience more than control, they can set up their email with Google or Microsoft in a matter of minutes (there are many email hosts including ProtonMail if privacy & security are a priority). The email will function properly in any of those options because the protocols are open and interoperable. Users can always migrate their email somewhere else later.

Those who set up their own email server will have absolute control over all the knobs and levers of spam protection, security settings, access control, rate limiting, etc. In a sense, they will have become their own “email bank” — only they have access to their email. They control everything.

However, it’s not realistic to expect the majority of people (the masses) to set up their own email server. Nor is it something that we should promote or encourage.

Most have no idea where to even begin. Could they stumble through Youtube tutorials to get through it? Maybe. But why? What would be the point?

There are teams of highly-paid professionals who have been setting up email for decades at Google, Microsoft, and ProtonMail. They have fine-tuned and optimized every aspect of the configuration. They know how to keep it secure. They know how to keep data protected. They know how to guard against spam. They know the best practices because of the years of experience and the millions of email servers that they’ve already set up. And they can get it done in a fraction of the cost and time that it would have taken an average user.

Other than for exceptional circumstances, there is just no reason that the common person should try to host their own email — especially when they can so easily tap into the expertise and experience of email professionals.

Based on available email data, my point has already proven true. Most of the world has opted for a hosted email solution like Google or Microsoft. The masses prefer products that are simple and convenient.

Crypto: DIY Bank vs Hosted Bank

Like email, crypto is built with open protocols. There is no monopoly on the types of applications that can be built or used because the protocols are open-source. Users have a choice of where they can store their digital money — or where to “bank.” The many wallets, platforms, and applications are all interoperable with each other. Users can easily move their funds from one service to another, just as they can move their email from one host to another.

A user can store their crypto on Coinbase (a centralized exchange) or they can store it themselves and become their own bank (using a non-custodial wallet or dApp which we’ve covered previously). The former option would be similar to hosting your email on Google. The latter option would be like setting up your own email server, hosting it yourself.

It hasn’t made sense for the masses to set up their own email server. And it certainly doesn’t make sense for them to try and set up their own bank.

The billions of normies out there simply don’t need to become their own bank. Nor should we encourage it.

When setting up your DIY bank

What’s the worst that can happen if someone botches the setup job on their own email server? They may lose emails, data, and documents. What’s the worst that can happen if someone botches the setup of their own bank? They could lose their entire life savings.

When it comes to crypto and money, the stakes are so much higher. They’re as high as it gets! The consequences of not doing it correctly can be devastating. If people all over the world are losing their money this would be a major setback on our quest for broader crypto adoption.

The masses should not be trying to set up their own bank. They should store their money with a “hosted” bank —kinda like how most people store their email at Google or Microsoft. Leave it to the experts and professionals. This approach shouldn’t just be a recommendation — it should be the default. It should be what our industry is pushing for, propping up, and promoting.

Experts & Professionals

When it comes to crypto and money, normies should be leaning heavily on the expertise & experience of real professionals. They should be putting their money in places that have teams of wildly overpaid security engineers whose only job it is to guard, protect, and secure the funds. At Genesis Block, we’re working with best-in-class custody providers like BitGo and Coinbase.

Normies should be putting their money in places where the teams are deeply familiar with the tech, know how to best leverage it, and know how to safely generate value.

Our team at Genesis Block has been in this space for many years. We’ve built protocols. We’ve done a lot of investing, trading, yield farming, liquidity mining, etc. We understand the risks and opportunities of these innovative, decentralized protocols — especially in the world of Decentralized Finance (DeFi).

Normies should be putting their money in places with a proven track record. Companies that have been in the institutional lending & borrowing markets for years. Companies with strong balance sheets and squeaky-clean reputations. At Genesis Block, we’re working with world-class institutional partners like Genesis Capital and Cumberland.

Normies should be putting their money in places that are compliant, regulated, and audited. Users want transparency. They want to know that there are checks & balances — real accountability. At Genesis Block, we’re working with regulators across the globe. We’ve also partnered with Evolve Bank & Trust and Visa — each with strict security, compliance & accountability policies.


If we want this tech to reach broad adoption, we should do everything we can to deliver maximum value to end-users. That value is unlikely to be achieved if we’re pushing the masses to set up their own DIY bank.

Maximum value occurs when normies put their money with experts like Genesis Block — where teams of highly-paid professionals are putting years of experience, knowledge, and best practices to work on behalf of users, every day. Where teams of crypto ninjas are storing, managing, investing, and growing crypto in a way that normies simply cannot. Where economies of scale are available. Where learning, research, experimentation never ends. Where upgrades, bug fixes, improvements never stop.

So does crypto need a bank like Genesis Block? Can it help with growing adoption? Should we be encouraging the masses to use Genesis Block?

If you’ve read this far then I think you already know the answer. Yes, of course.

But will it behave like all the legacy, greed-filled banks of the past that so many of us dislike? Of course not. We’ll get into those differences later.

A new digital bank that’s powered by blockchain technology is the perfect killer application that can take crypto to the masses.

For the billions of normies out there, putting money in a digital bank like Genesis Block will be simpler, more secure, and financially more rewarding than if they were to become their own bank.

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Mick Hagen

CEO/Founder of Hightop — a digital bank powered by web3